The dilemma of the overpriced OEM batteries

I’m going to write a generic article for this, it’s not a targeted attack on Sony because I don’t believe this is something that only Sony customers suffer as a result of. This is something that all the vendors do, Nikon, Canon, Fujifilm, etc. The challenge with mirrorless users is that we feel the pain a little more, because we need about 3 batteries for every one DSLR users require.

Please don’t get me wrong. I appreciate the cost of developing technology. I appreciate there are development cycles. But lets be realistic here, a battery shouldn’t cost $120. A Nikon battery shouldn’t cost that, a Fujifilm battery shouldn’t cost that and a Canon battery shouldn’t cost that. If one of the manufacturers came up with the same size battery with 3 times the capacity in the same size, I’d pay that, it’s worthwhile, it’s innovative, but there is nothing innovative about the same capacity battery that gives 320 shots on a mirrorless camera, with the same stuff rolled out year after year and only minor improvements. I understand that third party vendors are providing batteries without having to bear to cost of development, but when I can buy 4 or in some cases 5 batteries for the same price, I have to start calling it what it is, extortion, and they also wouldn’t have to pay for development because the OEM’s aren’t innovating to start with.

As I mentioned, this becomes more noticeable with mirrorless because while you can get away buying one or two extra batteries for DSLR, when you are talking about 10, it’s jut not feasible to look at OEM in it’s current form. To put it into perspective, you could spend half the amount on third party batteries, get twice as many batteries and still cover the risk over something going wrong.

For a wedding photographer shooting, it could be the problem of having 16 batteries with two cameras, at $100 a pop, you’re talking about $1,400 worth of extra batteries, which is nearly the cost of an X-T2 on batteries. Compare that to third party batteries and you’re talking about $300 vs $1400, and that’s decent branded third party batteries. Again, for $600 I could buy twice as many batteries for half the price, be able to do two events in a row, and on the odd chance a battery fails completely, I could simply call on one of my backups.

So if the OEM’s are out there listening to this, you need to rethink your strategy. The market for non-OEM batties has been created solely by you, like the market for illegal music was created in the early days by the lack of electronic downloads, or selling albums when people only wanted a song. You can try reduce the use third party batteries through firmware, warning messages, but ultimately you’re just putting a bandaid on a problem, not solving it.

When you bring that pricing down to reasonable levels, the market for OEM batteries will increase. Alternatively, show us you’re producing much higher capacity batteries and we may rethink our strategy.

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